By Tawni Bonds
What you need to Know about corsets

Corsets help shape and mold you to the perfect and magnificent imitation of the female shape – not only for you, but for a great many women who also want that shape. A corset is a fantasy garment that has a long history. But to me they are glamorous and sensual, make me feel so totally feminine and feel so very wonderful.

“But,” you ask, “if that is the case why are they now worn except as fetish or style accessories?” For one reason there is a lot of myth and fear surrounding corset wearing: ‘They are painfully uncomfortable!’ ‘You can pass out if it is too tight!’ ‘You cannot move in a corset!’ ‘They can cause permanent damage to your spleen, liver and other organs’! And many consider them the very symbol of men controling women – forcing them to wear them to make them more attractive (to men) to restrict their movement and basically keep those wild girls under control!

To all of this I say “Pish-Posh!” I have worn corsets for more than 3 decades now. I have researched corset training in person, on the web and with others who are more knowledgeable about them than I am. And what I have found through experience is that they are very comfortable – if you have the proper fit. They even feel good to wear – like someone hugging you. They have not ever caused me any harm – in fact they have helped me improve my posture and provided support for those rare occasions when I have back issues. Oh! And I have never passed out, or even felt like I was going to, from wearing one. Quite the opposite – they empower me and exhilarate me.

That said, there are a number of things you need to know about them to be get the correct fit, be comfortable and get that long sought after hour glass shape they so wonderfully supply.

Generally speaking there are 2 types of corsets: the Over Bust Corset and the Under Bust Corset (sometimes called a Training Corset or a Waist Cincher). In addition there are many variations on each such as the Halter Corset, the Corset Dress (which laces up to your thighs or knees or calves or ankles – depending on your style or bondage tastes!) and so on. I will only be discussing the main types of corsets, but this information applies to them all.

Corsets can be constructed of almost any material, but the ones that really are corsets, and not fashion or play fetish accessories, are made of a sturdy material (like Coutil fabrics) and have steel (spiral or spring) or bone stays. Those stays, or rib, are what shapes the body, so the more rigid and durable they are the better they work and the longer the corset will last. Do not be fooled by corsets that have plastic stays or other cheap “corsets”.

If you are interested in getting the shape you desire, you should also stay away from any corset that has a zipper. I found from my own experience that the zipper will both cause you pain when it grabs your skin while trying to zip it up and also come apart the first time you bend wearing it. The proper fastening system on corsets are be a metal post and eye system (also called a Busk) wherein one puts the small steel posts through the corresponding holes on the opposing side of the corset – and this system is traditionally in the front of the garment.

Another important component of the corset are the laces. It is extremely important that the laces are constructed of strong material that does not bind up as they travel through the grommets. If the laces are not sturdy construction they will break and if they bind up as they move through the grommets it becomes very hard to tighten the corset up. Generally, one tightens a corset from the bottom and top of the corset, with the laces meeting to be tied in the middle.

Lastly, most corsets – but not all- have fabric loops inside the bottom of the corset where one may attach garters. This can be sexy and fun, but is not really necessary for most use. It’s a personal thing.

Fitting and benefits
The main benefit from wearing a corset is attaining a narrow waistline. But you also get the added benefit of great posture, support and a wonderful feeling. The rule of thumb of wearing a corset is that they reduce your waist size by 5-INCHES! Yes! FIVE! So if you have a 32-inch waist normally, with a corset on you will have a 27-inch waist instantly! Tell me that is not a benefit worth going after!! (Be aware that first time corset wearers usually will only see a 4-inch reduction, but if you are diligent, you will get to 5-inches in no time. And if you are super diligent you can get to 6-7 or more!)

It is paramount to get the right size? SO learning how to measure of a corset is important. So, let’s measure! Items 1 and 2 are the important measurements but you need all if you are going for a custom corset. Here are the measurements you will need:

The narrowest part of your waist (directly under your rib cage)
From nipple to the hip bone (in front)
The fullest part of your bust (not bra size - measured over bra)
Bra cup size or form size if applicable
Under bust measurement (not bra size)
Around the top of your hip bones
7. Around lower full hip

You only need items1 to get into the game. But number 2 is really important for you to be aware of? In general, men have longer torsos than women. This means if you are buying a corset off the rack or through email it probably will not be optimal for you. But check the sizing charts to see if you can order a LONG or EXTRA LONG corset. In fact, feel free to send in your measurements and ask what size is best for you. If you are dealing with a reputable dealer they will guide you well.

Some of the places I purchase off the rack corsets are:
The Fashion Corset (
The Dark Garden (

One of the problems with wearing a corset if it does not fit properly or you wear it to tight, is you may get that “mushroom” effect above the top of the corset in back. And that’s never pretty ladies! Another issue of wearing a corset that does not fit properly is that you may get skin irritation in the areas that are either too loose or too short.

Also be aware that they do wear out. The stays start to push their way out of the bottom or top of the corset, the busk become fatigued, bent or bulges. So if you can either afford a custom corset designed just for your body ($170 – $250), or buy a second corset to use as an alternate it will extend the life of the garment a great deal.

Additionally, you must break in your corset properly and you must not rush the process. The breaking in period lasts only a 4 or 5 times of wearing the corset and involves being careful to not over tighten.

Wearing and Lacing
Before donning your corset you should first put on a liner or inner sleeve. This is something that will absorb the sweat, allow your skin to breath and make the corset much more comfortable to wear. It is essential if you plan on wearing your corset for more than a few hours. Unfortunately they are hard to find and you may have to make your own. If that is the case you can go a few ways:
Wear a tank top made of cotton
Wear a “wife beater” T-Shirt and cut the top off so it is just a cotton tube,
Wear a special Lycra slimming liner (also prevents “mushroom top”), or
Cut the bottom off some old pantyhose (we all have them laying around somewhere) and pull that on – it will not absorb the sweat but it still makes the corset more comfortable.

Before putting your corset on be sure that the bottom is on the bottom and the laces are loosened. You can tell the bottom by either locating the garter loops or by the shape of the top and bottom edges of the garment. It is important to loosen those laces pretty far so it is easier to fasten up the front post and eye system. The looser they are, the easier it is going to be to fasten up the front.

Now most corsets these days tighten or lace from both the top and the bottom with the laces meeting in the middle (see diagram). And generally it is difficult to self-lace your corset – but fear not because you can use my secret, patented, nifty trick of self-lacing. Here’s how it works:

Standing up, pull the longest laces as tight as you can without straining yourself (they come out of the center of the corset). When you let go of them they are going to loosen. That’s OK. Pull the laces tighter still by hooking the loop of the laces over each thumb and stretching out your arms while you breath out as much as you can. Feel yourself stretching your body taller as well.
This makes the middle of the corset tight, but the top and bottom loose. Now reach back there and grab the corset laces from about half way between the top and middle of the corset and tug them as tight as you can. It is very helpful at this stage to take a big breath, let it out again, then tighten the laces as best you can.
Before breathing again, find the laces from the center of the back of the corset and pull them as tight as you can. (You may now breath – but shallowly until we tie the laces off).
Do the same procedure with the bottom laces.
Now here is the trick: take the long lace from one side of the corset and pull it towards the opposite side while doing the same with the opposite sides laces – so that they pass through or over each other (see diagram #2). Pull the long laces as tight as you can – tightening both the top and bottom part of the corset.
With the laces pulled tight wrap them around your torso one time if they are too long (still pulling in opposite directions) and tie them off to each other in the back using a traditional bow knot. When doing this, be sure to take that big breath, let it out and then do the tightening.

As the evening goes on, the laces will have a tendency to loosen and/or you just get more comfortable wearing the corset – feel free to tighten them a bit more. As you get used to wearing the corset you will find that it not only gets easier to put the corset on and tighten the laces, but that you are training your waist to compress smaller and smaller. CONGRATULATIONS! You are waist training!
To properly train your waist to be small, feminine and sexy, you must be dedicated to wearing your corset. The training starts with a few hours a day in a looser fitting under-bust corset to wearing it 23 hours a day - tighter and tighter corset. For me, not wanting an extreme or freakishly small waist, I only need to wear a corset a few hours a day a few times a week. There are many articles available online to give you all the details of waist training such as the article at Waisted Couture ( and Glamour Boutique (

The 3 main points on waist training are having:
A proper corset
A Healthy Diet
Regular Exercise

A few More Tips
One of the things I do when I am preparing to wear my corset very tightly laced for an evening event is to cut down on my meals, eat less, but more often and take an antacid. This helps me to be slimmer, feel better and to avoid acid reflux, which I am prone to getting.

When you move without wearing a corset you tend to bend your back in ways that can lead to back trouble. One also tends to slouch when sitting. But with a corset you are firmly reminded that you always bend from the waist, with knees bent – the “Bunny Dip” as the waitresses at the Playboy Clubs dubbed it. It is a very back healthy manner to move. Additionally, you have no choice but to sit up straight and have very elegant and proper posture. Another reason I love corsets.

When its time to take your corset off, you should untie the laces and loosen them first. Next you unhook the post and eyes on the front. IF you do it the otherway around you are more likely going to be frustrated because it is extremely difficult or impossible to do or you will break the corsets busk.

After you have taken you corset off, be sure to lay it out flat, or hang it from a hanger, laces also over the hanger and give it time to relax, breath and dry out before you roll it up and put it away or put it back on.

At the end of the day Corsets are a wonderful, sexy, body shaper that is elegant, attractive, sensual and fun to wear! Enjoy and feel free to write me with your questions or share your experiences!


Tawni Katherin Bonds

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